Over 30 representatives from across 12 European countries attended a workshop to examine existing and developing national peatland strategies. Emma Goodyer (IUCN UK Peatland Programme Manager) and Steven Grady (IUCN UK National Committee Chair and EU Policy Advisor for the JNCC) attended the workshop on 28th-29th October 2019 in Bonn, Germany to feed in experiences of developing and delivering strategic action for the UK’s peatlands.
Hosted by The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) and supported by the Succow Foundation and Ramsar, the workshop aimed to bring together respective experts and stakeholders of the public sector and civil society in order to exchange knowledge and experiences on existing and planned national peatland strategies. The focus of work over the two days was to identify core elements of a national strategic action for peatlands that fosters best practice peatland management, considering aspects of conservation, restoration and sustainable use.
The IUCN UK Peatland Programme shared the UK peatland community’s experience of developing the UK Peatland Strategy: taking the opportunities created by the 2015 Brexit referendum to bring together a framework for unified action on peatlands.
“It was reassuring to see that the main elements of the UK approach are common goals shared with all peatland nations across Europe. It was also interesting to see the different initiating factors of strategic action. Finland’s strategy (2011) began due to peat extraction industry interests and to try and resolve conflicts between nature designation and designation of mineral rights. France’s approach has been to incorporate peatlands into regional wetland strategies so that peatlands are considered as a holistic part of the freshwater environment- although peatlands have now been defined as a priority wetland and a French national peatland strategy will be created as a matter of urgency throughout 2020.” Emma Goodyer, IUCN UK Peatland Programme.
A national strategy for peatlands in Germany will be consulted on and published by the end of 2020 and is a policy commitment of the current coalition German government. The technical basis and framework for the German Strategy is currently being written by an external contractor: Institute for Rural Structural Research (IfLS) and the final drafting of the document within this framework will be conducted by the German Ministry for the Environment.
Although peatlands are a devolved issue, the overarching UK framework of the strategy continues to be helpful in facilitating shared action, acting as a reminder of the scale of action needed and to stimulate the development of country level delivery plans/strategies. The UK is leading the way with strategic action for peatlands within Europe and a number of the workshop delegates were encouraged and inspired by the framework and delivery occurring within the UK.
A formal report on the Bonn EU Strategies workshop, written by the Griefswald Mire Centre, will be available shortly.